Volunteer Ambassadors Gained Experiences in Colombia

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) invited a group of Turkish university students to visit the coffee zone of Colombia, where they toured coffee farms and learned about the coffee production process, within the framework of the Experience Sharing Program 2018.

The 13 university students who participated in the Experience Sharing Program for the first time in South America, under the coordination of TİKA, attended various activities in the city of Armenia (Colombia) and in the capital, Bogotá.

The students studied basic Spanish on the first and second days and were able to apply what they learned during their stay.

The volunteer ambassadors participated in a variety of activities at the coffee farms. Colombia is one of the main coffee producers in the world. The students also went to ‘Parque del Café’, an amusement park, and had the opportunity to closely observe coffee production. The students learned about the history of the park and the process of producing the coffee bean.

Then, the student volunteers went to another coffee farm in the municipality of Córdoba, near Armenia, where they participated in the process of harvesting, cleaning, sorting and processing the coffee beans in the field. The young students visited a peasant family with whom they had lunch and received information about rural life in the country.

The volunteer ambassadors examined the projects carried out by TİKA on site. Volunteer ambassadors visited CEPAS Children's Rehabilitation Center, refurbished by TİKA within the body of Quindio University in order to support the education and social integration of the children who have suffered in the Armenia region in 10 years. Our young volunteer ambassadors distributed packs of sets and clothes for 40 students.

At the end of the program, young people met with University’s Vice-Chancellor Luis Fernando Polanía Obando and shared their experiences in Colombia, exchanged ideas for the development of cooperation between the two countries.  Obando, expressed his satisfaction with the cooperation with developing new projects and conveyed his thanks to Turkey and TİKA.

Youth visited another TİKA project; in the province of Risaralda.  TİKA had donated equipment’s for the Santa Rosa de Cabal Fundacion Lazos de Amor rehabilitation center, to help disabled children between the ages of 8-16 to be educated in a healthier and cleaner environment. Volunteer ambassadors played guitar with children with disabilities and spoke Spanish and Turkish songs.

On the last day of the Armenia leg of the program, our volunteers had the opportunity to get to know the Colombian cuisine well. Students learned how to make various Colombian delicacies such as Patacon, Arepa and coffee dessert, then prepared Turkish dishes and offered to Colombian invitations.

Students visited Turkish Embassy in Bogota, Bogota TIKA Program Coordination Office and the Regional Office of Anatolian News Agency. During their visits students received detailed information about their activities in Colombia. Students also visited Headquarters of Andean Parliament.

The students gathered together with 400 Colombian university students at the invitation of Universidad Central (Central University). At the seminar; Turkey's history, economy, geography, culture are presented by the Turkish students to their Colombian counterparts and explained TIKA's activities in Latin America and Colombia.

Alexander Moreto, political advisor to the Ambassador of Palestine in Bogota congratulated the students who participated in the program and thanked TİKA for their support.

"Turkey is not only limited to Turkey"

İbrahim Demirci, a student at Ankara University's Department of History who attended the Experience Sharing Program in Armenia and Bogota for 10 days said, "I have a better understanding of why TIKA is in Colombia and how it operates."

"What impresses me most in Colombia is that people are very friendly and easy to communicate," said Ömer Faruk Uzun, a student of Industrial Engineering at Istanbul Commerce University. Colombia is a wonderful country with its magnificent nature."

Yıldız Technical University, Department of Political Science and International Relations Senior student; Muhammad Coral Parents said " we had a priceless experience 11,000 km away from our hometown. Turkey has established close relations with the neighboring countries. But Turkey undertook the mission to share people's joy and sorrow in South America. I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who contributed to this program, especially TİKA, TRT, Anadolu Agency and Turkish Airlines. "

İsmail Bekiroglu commented on the program as follows: “My hope is that the scope of such activities will increase in the coming years and that it can reach more people. Thus, our country will be an vital global actor in the future for a more prosperous and fair world. "